DHCS seeks members for new Behavioral Health Stakeholder Advisory Committee

On Friday April 26th the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) announced it is forming a new Behavioral Health Stakeholder Advisory Committee (BH-SAC) designed to improve stakeholder engagement toward the goal of better integration of mental health and substance use disorder treatment integration.

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The announcement coincides with the Department’s reorganization of its mental health and substance use disorder services (MHSUDS). Beginning July 1, 2019, MHSUDS will fall under four new divisions: Community Services & Grants, Licensing & Certification, Medi-Cal Behavioral Health, and Behavioral Health Financing. According to DHCS, the change will help improve service delivery and program outcomes, increase program accountability, leverage experience and expertise within DHCS, and improve communication both within Medi-Cal and throughout the broader California health delivery system.

Despite the reorganization, questions remain around how to better integrate behavioral health given the its fractured financing system and the carve-outs for various levels of mental health services that persist both in Medi-Cal and other health plans.


Source: County Behavior Health Directors Association


Given the complexity that exists in this arena, the BH-SAC will seek to bring together leaders and representatives from key behavioral health concerns, including counties, providers, and policy organizations to provide feedback and guidance to DHCS on BH issues and future program design. The new committee will incorporate several existing policy forums and replace some existing stakeholder groups including the Driving Under the Influence Advisory Group, Narcotic Treatment Program Advisory Committee, Performance Outcomes System Stakeholder Advisory Committee, Interagency Prevention Advisory Council, and the Youth Advisory Group.

Applications for the BH-SAC can be found here and must be submitted to BehavioralHealthSAC@dhcs.ca.gov by May 17, 2019. The first meeting of the BH-SAC is scheduled for July 10, 2019, with regular meetings expected quarterly. More information on the application process and future can be found on the DHCS website here.